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Failure to Accurately Read a Pap Smear Test

A Pap smear, also known as a Pap test, is an exam used by doctors to screen women for cervical cancer. It can also detect changes in your cervical cells that could lead to cancer later on.  Early detection of cancer gives you the best chance of beating it.

Pap smears are critical for detecting precancerous cells in the body and eliminating them before they spread further. Pap smears are performed in a gynecologist’s office by swabbing the patient’s cervix during a pelvic exam. When administered and read correctly, this test can truly be a lifesaver. However, it is possible that a doctor was in a hurry, fatigued, or distracted and misread a patient’s Pap smear results. This is a critical error that can permanently alter a patient’s life.

Inadequate pap smear results can occur in a variety of circumstances. A technician who collects the cells, a pathologist or technician who interprets the data, or a physician who counsels patients about follow-up care can all make mistakes. Because the pap test is the primary screening tool for cervical cancer, diagnosis errors are most commonly caused by the test’s results. In addition to properly administering and interpreting the test, physicians must thoroughly investigate reports of unusual symptoms such as pelvic pain, unusual discharge, or blood in the urine or stool, and follow cervical cancer monitoring and diagnosis protocols.  If you believe your doctor not only misread your pap smear results but also failed to provide you with accurate information about when your next test is due, please contact our office immediately. Our highly experienced medical malpractice attorneys at DeFrancisco & Falgiatano may be able to assist you in obtaining the compensation you deserve.  We serve clients throughout Upstate New York and have offices in several convenient locations. Our extensive experience in the field of medical malpractice is reflected in the results we have obtained for our clients.

Pap smears are an important step in preventing cervical cancer in a patient. The test is simple to administer, so there’s no reason why a doctor shouldn’t order it regularly (every year, five years, etc.). Once the pap smear sample is collected, it is frequently sent to a large laboratory to be interpreted by cytotechnologists (non-medical professionals). Doctors must be held accountable for a misread pap smear, even if the result was inferred by a lab worker. Doctors should never rely on a non-medical professional for a test result that could mean the difference between a patient’s life and death.

It is recommended that a sexually active woman begin yearly pap smear tests at the age of twenty-one. Even if a woman is in a monogamous relationship, she is encouraged to have regular testing. A woman over the age of thirty who has had three consecutive normal pap smears may be allowed to test only once every five years. Women over the age of 65 with a history of normal pap smear tests may be able to discontinue them entirely.

Starting at the age of 30, you can choose to have your Pap test combined with a test for the human papillomavirus (HPV). If you do, you will be tested every 5 years instead of every 10 years. The most common sexually transmitted infection (STI) is HPV, which has been linked to cervical cancer.

If you have certain health concerns, your doctor may advise you to have a pap test more frequently. Some examples are:

  • Cervical cancer or a Pap test that revealed precancerous cells
  • HIV infection
  • A weakened immune system as a result of an organ transplant, chemotherapy, or chronic corticosteroid use
  • Prenatal exposure to diethylstilbestrol (DES)

A pap smear is regarded as a safe procedure. However, the test may miss some abnormal cells or cervical cancers (false negative). Discuss the benefits and risks of cervical cancer screening with your doctor.

Cervical cancer can be fatal, or lead to the removal of the cervix and surrounding organs. As a result, if you or a loved one developed cervical cancer because of the negligence of a health professional, it is only fair that you seek out justice in the form of a medical malpractice lawsuit.

DeFrancisco & Falgiatano has assisted a number of clients in regaining peace of mind and obtaining justice for the negligent or careless actions of the responsible party. Contact Upstate New York’s experienced and knowledgeable medical malpractice attorneys at DeFrancisco & Falgiatano. We represent injured clients and their families throughout Upstate New York, including Syracuse, Rochester, Albany, Buffalo, Elmira, Binghamton, Auburn, Ithaca, Oswego, Norwich, Herkimer, Delhi, Cooperstown, Cortland, Lowville, Oneida, Watertown, Utica, Canandaigua, Wampsville, Lyons, and surrounding areas.  Please call us at 833-200-2000 or contact us via our online form to discuss your case.

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